Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

This is an interesting analysis on adoption of smarter planet solutions by various industries. It leverages a mindmap to organize the challenges and advantages for industries in embracing the smarter systems.

Here’s the snapshot of the mindmap from the link:

Smarter Planet Solutions Adoption Analysis by Industry

Smarter Planet Solutions Adoption Analysis by Industry


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Shale-gas and -oil production. Powered by advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the production of domestic shale gas and oil has grown more than 50 percent annually since 2007. The shale boom could add as much as $690 billion a year to GDP and create up to 1.7 million jobs across the economy by 2020. The impact will extend to energy-intensive manufacturing industries and beyond. The United States now has the potential to reduce net energy imports to zero—but only if it can successfully address the associated environmental risks. 

US trade competitiveness in knowledge-intensive goods. The United States is one of the few advanced economies running a trade deficit in knowledge-intensive industries. But changing factor costs, a rebound in demand, and currency shifts are creating an opening to increase US production and exports of knowledge-intensive goods, such as automobiles, commercial airliners, medical devices, and petrochemicals. By implementing five strategies to boost competitiveness in these sectors, we believe the United States could reduce the trade deficit in knowledge-intensive industries to its 2000 level or close it—which would add up to $590 billion in annual GDP by 2020 and create up to 1.8 million new jobs.

Big-data analytics as a productivity tool. Sectors across the economy can harness the deluge of data generated by transactions, medical and legal records, videos, and social technologies—not to mention the sensors, cameras, bar codes, and transmitters embedded in the world around us. Advances in computing and analytics can transform this sea of data into insights that create operational efficiencies. By 2020, the wider adoption of big-data analytics could increase annual GDP in retailing and manufacturing by up to $325 billion and save as much as $285 billion in the cost of health care and government services.

Increased investment in infrastructure, with a new emphasis on productivity. The backlog of maintenance and upgrades for US roads, highways, bridges, and transit and water systems is reaching critical levels. The United States must increase its annual infrastructure investment by one percentage point of GDP to erase this competitive disadvantage. By 2020, that could create up to 1.8 million jobs and boost annual GDP by up to $320 billion. The impact could grow to $600 billion annually by 2030 if the selection, delivery, and operation of infrastructure investments improve.

A more effective US system of talent development. The nation’s long-standing advantage in education and skills has been eroding, but today real improvements are within reach. At the postsecondary level, expanding industry-specific training and increasing the number of graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math could build a more competitive workforce. At the K–12 level, enhancing classroom instruction, turning around underperforming high schools, and introducing digital learning tools can boost student achievement. These initiatives could raise GDP by as much as $265 billion by 2020—and achieve a dramatic “liftoff” effect by 2030, adding as much as $1.7 trillion to annual GDP.

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Yes, yes, don’t we all hate Facebook when our private pictures get leaked out to some hypothetical (even imaginary) creeps who have been trying to peep into our profiles and personal lives but had never succeeded because we thought we have upgraded every mumbo jumbo privacy setting to top NSA-is-no-exception secret? How about the time when that bloke wanted to do a shock-and-awe on his gal with a surprise marriage proposal but the jewelry shop posted on his Facebook wall about his purchase of a 1.6-carat diamond ring? So I guess the questions to ask would be: Is Facebook ruining lives? Is Facebook becoming a bane of the human race? Has the promising new kid Zuck brought into town evolved into a sophomoric life-wrecker? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. It depends. Just like anything else, we have to look at both sides of the stories.

So let’s see. Do you still remember the catastrophic tsunami and earthquake that came out of nowhere and blindsided Japan in 2011? Yeah I remember that little rascal, and at that time I was actually on my way to the southernmost ski resort in Japan, probably more than 500 miles from the epicenter. Seemingly as a response to that, a Facebook pilot product called the “FACEBOOK DISASTER MESSAGE BOARD” was released for a 2-days testing in Japan almost a year after. So what happens is that in the unfortunate occurrence of an earthquake or any natural disaster in your area of residence, a message board will be made available at the top of your Facebook page after you logged in. After you access the message board, you will be able to see a list of your Facebook friends who live in the vicinity of the disaster. Here are 4 main ways you can interact with it:

(1) Report on the message board if you are alright, and leave a message to your whereabouts if desired.

(2) Report on the message board if you have seen any of your friends, families or relatives are alright, and leave a message to their most recent whereabouts if desired.

(3) Leave a message beside the name of your Facebook friends in the message board to be able to receive a notification when they report in.

(4) Search the name of the person you are interested in knowing his or her safety status.

This is really a very simple tool to enhance communication in times of need, and it isn’t rocket science. But if you think this is completely unnecessary, it seems like the Japanese thought otherwise. While I was working in Japan for the last 5 years, my company conducted frequent drills with its own disaster safety confirmation system via our mobile phones. And if you compare that to the Facebook Disaster Message Board, it could only accomplish (1) and maybe (2) tops. The local telecommunication companies like NTT Docomo, AU and Softbank have their own systems, but I don’t think any of that comes close to Facebook’s versatility. Service Thinking is undoubtedly applied here. I won’t talk at length but just think of how much resource companies in Japan could save if they switch to the Facebook Disaster Message Board, and leave their old system to Facebook Haters. Think of the network of Facebook users who will be able to make this message board a great success! It would be really wonderful to see how this Facebook product performs in real life and not just in Japan, but anywhere in the world. I for one would sure want to see how it fares when something close to a planet-wide alien invasion springs up, but who am I to say.

Here’s a video of a geeky Japanese dude explaining how the Facebook Disaster Message Board is used back in February 2012. Unfortunately, the whole thing is in Japanese, so I suppose it is useless anyway if you don’t understand the language of the sushi-land but you know what? If I get 10 comments below, I will do a translation of everything he said in the video to English, including the part where he mentioned about how to pick up Japanese Harajuku girls who put on excessive make-ups and, for the ladies audience, how to talk to male escorts with those funky metrosexual hairstyles in Kabukicho. Now that I got your attention…

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Facebook is like a love-and-hate matter for most people, but this time, you can’t hate the staff of Facebook for doing what they love.


IBM Intern; Hult International Business School


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Say iPhone Apps, and countless ones from FaceBook, Kindle, Notability to absolutely useless ones like iBeer and Tickle Me! surface almost immediately. But has the idea of saving lives in the form of an iPhone App ever come to mind? No, I am not talking about those cliche Be-Your-Own-Doctor apps that claim to teach you how to diagnose ailments from the common cold to influenza but everything turns to be cancer in the end; I am talking about life and death, and actually saving real people’s lives, yes, even your collegiate brother-in-law who claimed to be broke and borrowed $1000 from you but could be seen partying all night.

So without further ado, I hereby introduce to you…(drumrolls)… PULSEPOINT! What it essentially does is that it informs you when someone is suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in your close vicinity; if you don’t know what cardiac arrest is, google it, or think somewhere along the line of a heart attack. So instead of having the poor soul waiting for an ambulance to come over and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) 10 min after someone called in an emergency, he or she could receive timely assistance from a good Samaritan like yourself. If you are not CPR-certified, be glad when I say that learning CPR on your own isn’t really that difficult, you should be able to find tons of Youtube videos on it (You might debate with me why the person who called 911 couldn’t help the person, and my counter-argument would be that the caller may not be officially CPR-trained, and you could probably do a better job, certified or not). Crowdsourcing used to be all about companies trying to get new ideas to solve problems like growth stagnation and inefficient algorithms, now look at what this baby can do.

So how can we relate this to Service Thinking as the title of this post implies? Well, this can be explained through the six chevrons of Service Thinking:

(1) CO-CREATION OF VALUE: Instead of the services of 911 being stretched too thinly to cater to both life-threatening situations and childish prank calls, members of the society can now partake in the life-saving crusade against SCA because they never know when they will need the help of others around them. The younger generation can help establish a life-saving network early in their lives and well before they become vulnerable to SCA when they reach old-age decades down the road.

(2) SERVICE SYSTEMS: In the case of PulsePoint, the main service system is the network of people in society who are willing to give a helping hand when needed. This system served itself and is further supported by Emergency 911 as well as healthcare facilities like hospitals and rehabilitation centers and healthcare practitioners like doctors and nurses.

(3) MODULAR BUSINESS ARCHITECTURE: PulsePoint can be seen by Emergency 911 as a discrete yet integrated module and as a way to “outsource” its services to the general public. And when we talk about specialization here, I don’t mean being an expert in CPR. I would affectionately call this specialization in proximity: the nearer a person (be it CPR-certified or self-trained) is to a SCA victim, the higher the chances the SCA victim will live to sing the praises of PulsePoint.

(4) GLO-MO-SO SCALABLE PLATFORMS: If you haven’t already known, glo-mo-so stands for global-mobile-social, and this is pretty easy to understand in the context of iPhone apps.

(5) RUN-TRANSFORM-INNOVATE: If I had been a paramedic, I would have been deeply frustrated by the fact that sometimes, if not most of the time, I rushed down in my ambulance only to realize that the victim has passed away 30 seconds ago. To bring out Service Thinking’s fullest potential, more resources should be re-allocated from RUN (i.e. running daily operations) to TRANSFORM (i.e. improving the current system to become more efficient) and INNOVATE (i.e. replacing the current system with a better one often characterized by discontinuity). By having PulsePoint on its side, Emergency 911 does not have to allocate that much resources to RUN, when a much more astronomical effect can be achieved by investing the same amount in TRANSFORM and some may even say, INNOVATE. More victims can be saved as a result with little waste in resources.

(6) TWO-SIDED METRICS: For starters, Emergency 911 can assess the synergies achieved through PulsePoint by measuring the number of lives saved normalized by the amount of resources spent. Statistical comparison between states and cities with and without the proliferation of PulsePoint can be carried out too. For the users of PulsePoint and society as a whole, we should be seeing a reduction in death rates caused by SCA.

Now that you understand how Service Thinking has been applied here (I hope!), don’t forget to check out this heartwarming video about PulsePoint; apparently, CPR classes were booked out 6 months in advance after this video was showcased at an event.

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Oh and of course, Android users have access to this App as well.

Finally, everyone can be a hero.


IBM Intern; Hult International Business School

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The US is quite frequently battered by hurricanes and tornadoes. As these disasters cause several billion dollars in damage each year, a better forecasting and storm tracking are necessary in order to provide the country appropriate time to prepare for such disasters. One of the most recent hurricanes in the US is the Hurricane Sandy which largely devastated parts of the East Coast. This led the government to take action, and thus thankfully for “The Hurricane Sandy supplemental” bill, the National Weather Service gets an upgrade in their primary computers for weather forecasting.

Source: Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Louis Uccellini, the director of the National Weather Service, informed that the organization will be getting an upgrade of its IBM computing system which will increase its power 25 times than what it has today. This implies a major improvement on weather forecasting and storm tracking abilities of the organization. This will enable it to better predict and thereby protect the country from severe weather. According to Louis, the changes will be made  over the next two years. This development comes as a huge relief to many, especially when there are rising concerns of climate change fueling extreme weather.

Until today, scientists in the US raised their concern on the loss of the weather service’s edge. It is expected that with this development, once implemented, will put US ahead of the rest of the world again in terms of weather forecasting technology. In addition, with a better weather forecasting technology, the US will be more equipped to respond and mitigate the impact of such disasters.
Guest editor: Kristine Rowan

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